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577. The use of the Accusative and Infinitive in Indirect Discourse ( ōrātiō oblīqua ) is a comparatively late form of speech, developed in the Latin and Greek only, and perhaps separately in each of them. It is wholly wanting in Sanskrit, but some forms like it have grown up in English and German.

The essential character of Indirect Discourse is, that the language of some other person than the writer or speaker is compressed into a kind of Substantive Clause, the verb of the main clause becoming Infinitive, while modifying clauses, as well as all hortatory forms of speech, take the Subjunctive. The person of the verb necessarily conforms to the new relation of persons.

The construction of Indirect Discourse, however, is not limited to reports of the language of some person other than the speaker; it may be used to express what any one—whether the speaker or some one else—says, thinks, or perceives, whenever that which is said, thought, or perceived is capable of being expressed in the form of a complete sentence. For anything that can be said etc. can also be reported indirectly as well as directly.

The use of the Infinitive in the main clause undoubtedly comes from its use as a case-form to complete or modify the action expressed by the verb of saying and its object together. This object in time came to be regarded as, and in fact to all intents became, the subject of the infinitive. A transition state is found in Sanskrit, which, though it has no indirect discourse proper, yet allows an indirect predication after verbs of saying and the like by means of a predicative apposition, in such expressions as “The maids told the king [that] his daughter [was] bereft of her senses.”

The simple form of indirect statement with the accusative and infinitive was afterwards amplified by introducing dependent or modifying clauses; and in Latin it became a common construction, and could be used to report whole speeches etc., which in other languages would have the direct form. (Compare the style of reporting speeches in English, where only the person and tense are changed.)

The Subjunctive in the subordinate clauses of Indirect Discourse has no significance except to make more distinct the fact that these clauses are subordinate; consequently no direct connection has been traced between them and the uses of the mood in simple

sentences. It is probable that the subjunctive in indirect questions (§ 574), in informal indirect discourse (§ 592), and in clauses of the integral part (§ 593) represents the earliest steps of a movement by which the subjunctive became in some degree a mood of subordination.

The Subjunctive standing for hortatory forms of speech in Indirect Discourse is simply the usual hortatory subjunctive, with only a change of person and tense (if necessary), as in the reporter's style.

578. A Direct Quotation gives the exact words of the original speaker or writer ( Ōrātiō Rēcta ).

An Indirect Quotation adapts the words of the speaker or writer to the construction of the sentence in which they are quoted ( Ōrātiō Oblīqua ).

Note.--The term Indirect Discourse ( ōrātiō oblīqua ) is used in two senses. In the wider sense it includes all clauses—of whatever kind—which express the words or thought of any person indirectly, that is, in a form different from that in which the person said the words or conceived the thought. In the narrower sense the term Indirect Discourse is restricted to those cases in which some complete proposition is cited in the form of an Indirect Quotation, which may be extended to a narrative or an address of any length, as in the speeches reported by Cæsar and Livy. In this book the term is used in the restricted sense.


579. Verbs and other expressions of knowing, thinking, telling, and perceiving,1 govern the Indirect Discourse.

Note.-- Inquam, said I (etc.) takes the Direct Discourse except in poetry.

Declaratory Sentences in Indirect Discourse

580. In Indirect Discourse the main clause of a Declaratory Sentence is put in the Infinitive with Subject Accusative. All subordinate clauses take the Subjunctive:—
  1. sciō paene incrēdibilem rem pollicērī (B. C. 3.86) , I know that I am promising an almost incredible thing. [Direct: polliceor .]
  2. nōn arbitror ita sentīre (Fam. 10.26.2) , I do not suppose that you feel thus. [Direct: sentīs .]
  3. spērō līberātum [esse] metū; (Tusc. 2.67), I trust I have been freed from fear. [Direct: līberātus sum .]
  4. [dīcit] esse nōn nūllōs quōrum auctōritās plūrimum valeat (B. G. 1.17) , he says there are some, whose influence most prevails. [Direct: sunt nōn nūllī ... valet.]
  5. nisi iūrāsset, scelus factūrum [esse] arbitrābātur (Verr. 2.1.123) , he thought he should incur guilt, unless he should take the oath. [Direct: nisi iūrāverō , faciam .]

a. The verb of saying etc. is often not expressed, but implied in some word or in the general drift of the sentence:—

  1. cōnsulis alterīus nōmen invīsum cīvitātī fuit: nimium Tarquiniōs rēgnō adsuēsse; initium ā Prīscō factum; rēgnāsse dein Ser. Tullium, etc. (Liv. 2.2) , the name of the other consul was hateful to the state; the Tarquins (they thought) had become too much accustomed to royal power, etc. [Here invīsum implies a thought, and this thought is added in the form of Indirect Discourse.]
  2. ōrantēs ut urbibus saltemiam enim agrōs dēplōrātōs esseopem senātus ferret (id. 41.6), praying that the senate would at least bring aid to the cities—for the fields [they said] were already given up as lost.

b. The verb negō, deny, is commonly used in preference to dīcō with a negative:—

  1. [Stōicī] negant quidquam [esse] bonum nisi quod honestum sit (Fin. 2.68) , the Stoics assert that nothing is good but what is right.

c. Verbs of promising, hoping, expecting, threatening, swearing, and the like, regularly take the construction of Indirect Discourse, contrary to the English idiom:—

  1. minātur sēsē abīre (Pl. Asin. 604) , he threatens to go away. [Direct: abeō, I am going away.]
  2. spērant maximum frūctum esse captūrōs (Lael. 79) , they hope to gain the utmost advantage. [Direct: capiēmus .]
  3. spērat absolūtum īrī (Sull. 21) , he hopes that he shall be acquitted. [Direct: absolvar .]
  4. quem inimīcissimum futūrum esse prōmittō ac spondeō; (Mur. 90), who I promise and warrant will be the bitterest of enemies. [Direct: erit .]
  5. dolor fortitūdinem dēbilitātūrum minātur (Tusc. 5.76) , pain threatens to wear down fortitude. [Direct: dēbilitābō .]
  6. cōnfīdō quod velim facile ā impetrātūrum (Fam. 11.16.1) , I trust I shall easily obtain from you what I wish. [Direct: quod volō , impetrābō .]

Note.--These verbs, however, often take a simple Complementary Infinitive (§ 456) So regularly in early Latin (except spērō ):—

  1. pollicentur obsidēs dare (B. G. 4.21) , they promise to give hostages.
  2. prōmīsī dōlium vīnī dare (Pl. Cist. 542) , I promised to give a jar of wine.

d. Some verbs and expressions may be used either as verbs of saying, or as verbs of commanding, effecting, and the like. These take as their object either an Infinitive with subject accusative or a Substantive clause of Purpose or Result, according to the sense.

    Infinitive with Subject Accusative (Indirect Discourse): —
    1. laudem sapientiae statuōesse maximam (Fam. 5.13) , I hold that the glory of wisdom is the greatest. [Indirect Discourse.]
    2. rēs ipsa monēbat tempus esse(Att. 10.8.1) , the thing itself warned that it was time. [Cf. monēre ut, warn to do something.]
    3. fac mihi esse persuāsum(N. D. 1.75) , suppose that I am persuaded of that. [Cf. facere ut, bring it about that.]
    4. hōc volunt persuādēre,nōn interīre animās(B. G. 6.14) , they wish to convince that souls do not perish.
    Subjunctive (Substantive Clause of Purpose or Result):—
    1. statuunt ut decem mīlia hominum mittantur(B. G. 7.21) , they resolve that 10,000 men shall be sent. [Purpose clause (cf. § 563).]
    2. huic persuādetutī ad hostīs trānseat (id. 3.18), he persuades him to pass over to the enemy.
    3. Pompêius suīs praedīxerat ut Caesaris impetum exciperent(B. C. 3.92) , Pompey had instructed his men beforehand to await Cæsar's attack.
    4. dēnūntiāvitut essent animō parātī; (id. 3.86), he bade them be alert and steadfast (ready in spirit).

Note.--The infinitive with subject accusative in this construction is Indirect Discourse, and is to be distinguished from the simple infinitive sometimes found with these verbs instead of a subjunctive clause (§ 563. d).

581. The Subject Accusative of the Infinitive is regularly expressed in Indirect Discourse, even if it is wanting in the direct:
  1. ōrātor sum, I am an orator; dīcit esse ōrātōrem, he says he is an orator.

Note 1.--But the subject is often omitted if easily understood:—

  1. īgnōscere imprūdentiae dīxit (B. G. 4.27) , he said he pardoned their rashness.
  2. eadem ab aliīs quaerit: reperit esse vēra (id. 1.18), he inquires about these same things from others; he finds that they are true.

Note 2.--After a relative, or quam (than), if the verb would be the same as that of the main clause, it is usually omitted, and its subject is attracted into the accusative:—

    suspicor eīsdem rēbus quibus ipsum commovērī; (Cat. M. 1), I suspect that you are disturbed by the same things as I.
  1. cōnfīdō tamen haec quoque tibi nōn minus grāta quam ipsōs librōs futūra (Plin. Ep. 3.5.20) , I trust that these facts too will be no less pleasing to you than the books themselves.

Note 3.--In poetry, by a Greek idiom, a Predicate Noun or Adjective in the indirect discourse sometimes agrees with the subject of the main verb:—

  1. vir bonus et sapiēns ait esse parātus (Hor. Ep. 1.7.22) , a good and wise man says he is prepared, etc. [In prose: ait esse parātum .]
  2. sēnsit mediōs dēlāpsus in hostīs (Aen. 2.377) , he found himself fallen among the foe. [In prose: esse dēlāpsum .]

582. When the verb of saying etc. is passive, the construction may be either Personal or Impersonal. But the Personal construction is more common and is regularly used in the tenses of incomplete action:—

  1. beātē vīxisse videor (Lael. 15) , I seem to have lived happily.
  2. Epamīnōndās fidibus praeclārē cecinisse dīcitur (Tusc. 1.4) , Epaminondas is said to have played excellently on the lyre.
  3. multī idem factūrī esse dīcuntur (Fam. 16.12.4) , many are said to be about to do the same thing. [Active: dīcunt multōs factūrōs ( esse ).]
  4. prīmī trāduntur arte quādam verba vīnxisse (Or. 40) , they first are related to have joined words with a certain skill.
  5. Bibulus audiēbātur esse in Syriā; (Att. 5.18), it was heard that Bibulus was in Syria (Bibulus was heard, etc.). [Direct: Bibulus est .]
  6. cēterae Illyricī legiōnēs secūtūrae spērābantur (Tac. H. 2.74) , the rest of the legions of Illyricum were expected to follow.
  7. vidēmur enim quiētūrī fuisse, nisi essēmus lacessītī(De Or. 2.230) , it seems that we should have kept quiet, if we had not been molested (we seem, etc.). [Direct: quiēssēmus ... nisi essēmus lacessītī.]

Note.--The poets and later writers extend the personal use of the passive to verbs which are not properly verba sentiendī etc.: as,— colligor dominae placuisse (Ov. Am. 2.6.61), it is gathered [from this memorial] that I pleased my mistress.

a. In the compound tenses of verbs of saying etc., the impersonal construction is more common, and with the gerundive is regular:—

  1. trāditum est etiam Homērum caecum fuisse (Tusc. 5.114) , it is a tradition, too, that Homer was blind.
  2. ubi tyrannus est, ibi nōn vitiōsam, sed dīcendum est plānē nūllam esse rem pūblicam (Rep. 3.43) , where there is a tyrant, it must be said, not that the commonwealth is evil, but that it does not exist at all.

Note.--An indirect narrative begun in the personal construction may be continued with the Infinitive and Accusative (as De Or. 2.299; Liv. 5.41.9).

Subordinate Clauses in Indirect Discourse

583. A Subordinate Clause merely explanatory, or containing statements which are regarded as true independently of the quotation, takes the Indicative:—
    quis neget haec omnia quae vidēmus deōrum potestāte administrārī; (Cat. 3.21), who can deny that all these things we see are ruled by the power of the gods?
    cûius ingeniō putābat ea quae gesserat posse celebrārī; (Arch. 20), by whose genius he thought that those deeds which he had done could be celebrated. [Here the fact expressed by quae gesserat , though not explanatory, is felt to be true without regard to the quotation: quae gessisset would mean, what Marius claimed to have done.]

Note.--Such a clause in the indicative is not regarded as a part of the Indirect Discourse; but it often depends merely upon the feeling of the writer whether he shall use the Indicative or the Subjunctive (cf. §§ 591-593).

a. A subordinate clause in Indirect Discourse occasionally takes the Indicative when the fact is emphasized:—

  1. factum êius hostis perīculum ... cum, Cimbrīs et Teutonīs ... pulsīs, nōn minōrem laudem exercitus quam ipse imperātor meritus vidēbātur (B. G. 1.40) , that a trial of this enemy had been made when, on the defeat of the Cimbri and Teutoni, the army seemed to have deserved no less credit than the commander himself.

b. Clauses introduced by a relative which is equivalent to a demonstrative with a conjunction are not properly subordinate, and hence take the Accusative and Infinitive in Indirect Discourse (see § 308. f):—

  1. Mārcellus requīsīsse dīcitur Archimēdem illum, quem cum audīsset interfectum permolestē tulisse (Verr. 4.131) , Marcellus is said to have sought for Archimedes, and when he heard that he was slain, to have been greatly distressed. [ quem = et eum .]
  2. cēnsent ūnum quemque nostrum mundī esse partem, ex quō [=et ex ] illud nātūrā cōnsequī (Fin. 3.64) , they say that each one of us is a part of the universe, from which this naturally follows.

Note.--Really subordinate clauses occasionally take the accusative and infinitive. as,quem ad modum nōn dēdātur obses prō ruptō foedus habitūrum, sīc “dēditam inviolātam ad suōs remissūrum(Liv. 2.13) , [he says] as in case the hostage is not given up he shall consider the treaty as broken, so if given up he will return her unharmed to her friends.

c. The infinitive construction is regularly continued after a comparative with quam :—

  1. addit prius occīsum īrī ab quam violātum īrī (Att. 2.20.2) , he adds that he himself will be killed by him, before I shall be injured.
  2. nōnne adfīrmāvī quidvīs potius perpessūrum quam ex Ītaliā exitūrum (Fam. 2.16.3) , did I not assert that I would endure anything rather than leave Italy?

Note.--The subjunctive with or without ut also occurs with quam (see § 535. c).

Tenses of the Infinitive in Indirect Discourse

584. The Present, the Perfect, or the Future Infinitive3 is used in Indirect Discourse, according as the time indicated is present, past, or future with reference to the verb of saying etc. by which the Indirect Discourse is introduced:—
  1. cadō, I am falling.
  2. dīcit cadere, he says he is falling.
  3. dīxit cadere, he said he was falling.
  4. cadēbam, I was falling; cecidī, I fell, have fallen; cecideram, I had fallen.
  5. dīcit cecidisse, he says he was falling, fell, has fallen, had fallen.
  6. dīxit cecidisse, he said he fell, had fallen.
  7. cadam, I shall fall.
  8. dīcit cāsūrum [ esse ], he says he shall fall.
  9. dīxit cāsūrum [ esse ], he said he should fall.
  10. ceciderō, I shall have fallen.
  11. dīcit fore ut ceciderit [rare], he says he shall have fallen.
  12. dīxit fore ut cecidisset [rare], he said he should have fallen.

a. All varieties of past time are usually expressed in Indirect Discourse by the Perfect Infinitive, which may stand for the Imperfect, the Perfect, or the Pluperfect Indicative of the Direct.

Note.--Continued or repeated action in past time is sometimes expressed by the Present Infinitive, which in such cases stands for the Imperfect Indicative of the Direct Discourse and is often called the Imperfect Infinitive.

This is the regular construction after meminī when referring to a matter of actual experience or observation: as, meminī haec dīcere, I remember your saying this (that you said this). [Direct: dīxistī or dīcēbās .]

b. The present infinitive posse often has a future sense:—

  1. totīus Galliae sēsē potīrī posse spērant (B. G. 1.3) , they hope that they shall be able to get possession of all Gaul.

Tenses of the Subjunctive in Indirect Discourse

585. The tenses of the Subjunctive in Indirect Discourse follow the rule for the Sequence of Tenses (§ 482). They depend for their sequence on the verb of saying etc. by which the Indirect Discourse is introduced.

Thus in the sentence, dīxit Rōmam itūrum ut cōnsulem vidēret, he said he should go to Rome in order that he might see the consul, vidēret follows the sequence of dīxit without regard to the Future Infinitive, itūrum [ esse ], on which it directly depends.

Note.--This rule applies to the subjunctive in subordinate clauses, to that which stands for the imperative etc. (see examples, § 588), and to that in questions (§ 586).

a. A subjunctive depending on a Perfect Infinitive is often in the Imperfect or Pluperfect, even if the verb of saying etc. is in a primary tense (cf. § 485. j); so regularly when these tenses would have been used in Direct Discourse:—

  1. Tarquinium dīxisse ferunt tum exsulantem intellēxisse quōs fīdōs amīcōs habuisset (Lael. 53) , they tell us that Tarquin said that then in his exile he had found out what faithful friends he had had. [Here the main verb of saying, ferunt , is primary, but the time is carried back by dīxisse and intellēxisse , and the sequence then becomes secondary.]
  2. tantum prōfēcisse vidēmur ut ā Graecīs verbōrum quidem cōpiā vincerēmur (N. D. 1.8) , we seem to have advanced so far that even in abundance of words we ARE not surpassed by the Greeks.

Note 1.--The proper sequence may be seen, in each case, by turning the Perfect Infinitive into that tense of the Indicative which it represents. Thus, if it stands for an imperfect or an historical perfect, the sequence will be secondary; if it stands for a perfect definite, the sequence may be either primary or secondary (§ 485. a).

Note 2.--The so-called imperfect infinitive after meminī (§ 584. a. N.) takes the secondary sequence: as,ad adīre quōsdam meminī, “quī dīcerent(Fam. 3.10.6) , I remember that some persons visited me, to tell me, etc.

b. The Present and Perfect Subjunctive are often used in dependent clauses of the Indirect Discourse even when the verb of saying etc. is in a secondary tense:—

  1. dīcēbant ... totidem Nerviōs (pollicērī) “quī longissimē absint(B. G. 2.4) , they said that the Nervii, who live farthest off, promised as many.

Note.--This construction comes from the tendency of language to refer all time in narration to the time of the speaker ( repraesentātiō ). In the course of a long pas sage in the Indirect Discourse the tenses of the subjunctive often vary, sometimes following the sequence, and sometimes affected by repraesentātiō. Examples may be seen in B. G. 1.13, 7.20, etc.

Certain constructions are never affected by repraesentātiō. Such are the Imperfect and Pluperfect Subjunctive with cum temporal, antequam , and priusquam .

Questions in Indirect Discourse

586. A Question in Indirect Discourse may be either in the Subjunctive or in the Infinitive with Subject Accusative.

A real question, asking for an answer, is generally put in the Subjunctive; a rhetorical question, asked for effect and implying its own answer, is put in the Infinitive:—

  1. quid sibi vellet? cūr in suās possessiōnēs venīret (B. G. 1.44) , what did he want? why did he come into his territories? [Real question. Direct: quid vīs ? cūr venīs ?]
  2. num recentium iniūriārum memoriam [] dēpōnere posse (id. 1.14), could he lay aside the memory of recent wrongs? [Rhetorical Question. Direct: num possum ?]
  3. quem sīgnum datūrum fugientibus? quem ausūrum Alexandrō succēdere (Q. C. 3.5.7) , who will give the signal on the retreat? who will dare succeed Alexander? [Rhetorical. Direct: quis dabit ... audēbit .]

Note 1.--No sharp line can be drawn between the Subjunctive and the Infinitive in questions in the Indirect Discourse. Whether the question is to be regarded as rhetorical or real often depends merely on the writer's point of view:—

  1. utrum partem rēgnī petītūrum esse, an tōtum ēreptūrum (Liv. 45.19.15) , will you ask part of the regal power (he said), or seize the whole?
  2. quid tandem praetōrī faciendum fuisse (id. 31.48), what, pray, ought a prætor to have done?
  3. quid repente factum [esse] cūr, etc. (id. 34.54), what had suddenly happened, that, etc.?

Note 2.--Questions coming immediately after a verb of asking are treated as Indirect Questions and take the Subjunctive (see § 574). This is true even when the verb of asking serves also to introduce a passage in the Indirect Discourse. The question may be either real or rhetorical. See quaesīvit , etc. (Liv. 37.15).

For the use of tenses, see § 585.

587. A Deliberative Subjunctive (§ 444) in the Direct Discourse is always retained in the Indirect:—

  1. cūr aliquōs ex suīs āmitteret (B. C. 1.72) , why (thought he) should he lose some of his men? [Direct: cūr āmittam ?]

Commands in Indirect Discourse

588. All Imperative forms of speech take the Subjunctive in Indirect Discourse:—
    reminīscerētur veteris incommodī; (B. G. 1.13), remember (said he) the ancient disaster. [Direct: reminīscere .]
  1. fīnem faciat (id. 1.20), let him make an end. [Direct: fac .]
  2. ferrent opem, adiuvārent (Liv. 2.6) , let them bring aid, let them help.

a. This rule applies not only to the Imperative of the direct discourse, but to the Hortatory and the Optative Subjunctive as well.

Note 1.--Though these subjunctives stand for independent clauses of the direct discourse, they follow the rule for the sequence of tenses, being in fact dependent on the verb of saying etc. (cf. §§ 483, 585).

Note 2.--A Prohibition in the Indirect Discourse is regularly expressed by with the present or imperfect subjunctive, even when nōlī with the infinitive would be used in the Direct: as,— “ perturbārentur(B. G. 7.29) , do not (he said) be troubled. [Direct: nōlīte perturbārī . But sometimes nōllet is found in Indirect Discourse.]

Conditions in Indirect Discourse

589. Conditional sentences in Indirect Discourse are expressed as follows:—

  1. The Protasis, being a subordinate clause, is always in the Subjunctive.
  2. The Apodosis, if independent and not hortatory or optative, is always in some form of the Infinitive.
a. The Present Subjunctive in the apodosis of less vivid future conditions (§ 516. b) becomes the Future Infinitive like the Future Indicative in the apodosis of more vivid future conditions.

Thus there is no distinction between more and less vivid future conditions in the Indirect Discourse.

Examples of Conditional Sentences in Indirect Discourse are—

    Simple Present Condition (§ 515):—
    1. dīxit ipse populō Rōmānō nōnpraescrīberet quem ad modum suō iūre ūterētur, nōnoportēresēsē ā populō Rōmānō in “suō iūre impedīrī(B. G. 1.36) , he said that if he did not dictate to the Roman people how they should use their rights, he ought not to be interfered with by the Roman people in the exercise of his rights. [Direct: nōn praescrībō ... nōn oportet .]
    2. praedicāvit ... pāce ūtīvelint, inīquumesse, etc. (id. 1.44), he asserted that if they wished to enjoy peace, it was unfair, etc. [Direct: volunt ... est . Present tense kept by repraesentātiō (§ 585. b. N.).]
    Simple Past Condition (§ 515):—
    1. nōn dīcam illud quidem, maximē in culpāfuerit Apollōnius, tamen in hominem honestissimae cīvitātis honestissimum tam graviter animadvertī, causā indictā, nōn oportuisse(Verr. 5.20) , I will not say this either, that, even if Apollonius was very greatly in fault, still an honorable man from an honorable state ought not to have been punished so severely without having his case heard. [Direct: fuit ... nōn oportuit .]
    Future Conditions (§ 516):—
    1. dīxitquod praetereā nēmō sequātur, “tamen cum sōlā decimā legiōne itūrum(B. G. 1.40) , but if nobody else should follow, still he would go with the tenth legion alone. [Direct: sequētur ... ībō . Present tense by repraesentātiō (§ 585. b. N.).]
    2. Haeduīs obsidēs redditūrum nōn esse, neque eīs ... bellumillātūrum, in manērent, quod convēnisset, stipendiumque quotannīs penderent: id nōnfēcissent, longē eīs frāternum nōmen populī Rōmānī āfutūrum (id. 1.36), he said that he would not give up the hostages to the Haedui, but would not make war upon them if they observed the agreement which had been made, and paid tribute yearly; but that, if they should not do this, the name of brothers to the Roman people would be far from aiding them. [Direct: reddam ... īnferam ... manēbunt ... pendent : nōn fēcerint ... aberit .]
    3. <*>d Datamēs ut audīvit, sēnsit, in turbam exīsset ab homine tam necessāriō relictum, futūrum[esse] utcēterī cōnsilium sequantur (Nep. Dat. 6), when Datames heard this, he saw that, if it should get abroad that he had been abandoned by a man so closely connected with him, everybody else would follow his example. [Direct: exierit ... sequentur .]
    4. putāvērunt) nisi cīvitāte expulissent, “obtinēre nōn posse licentiam cupiditātum suārum(Att. 10.4) , they thought that unless they drove me out of the state, they could not have free play for their desires. [Direct: nisi ( Cicerōnem ) expulerimus , obtinēre nōn poterimus .]
b. In changing a Condition contrary to fact (§ 517) into the Indirect Discourse, the following points require notice:—

  1. The Protasis always remains unchanged in tense.
  2. The Apodosis, if active, takes a peculiar infinitive form, made by combining the Participle in -ūrus with fuisse .
  3. If the verb of the Apodosis is passive or has no supine stem, the periphrasis futūrum fuisse ut (with the Imperfect Subjunctive) must be used.
  4. An Indicative in the Apodosis becomes a Perfect Infinitive.
Examples are:—
  1. nec superstitem fīliae futūrum fuisse, nisi spem ulcīscendae mortis êius in auxiliō commīlitōnum habuisset (Liv. 3.50.7) , and that he should not now be a survivor, etc., unless he had had hope, etc. [Direct: nōn superstes essem , nisi habuissem .]
  2. illud Asia cōgitet, nūllam ā neque bellī externī neque discordiārum domesticārum calamitātem āfutūram fuisse, hōc imperiō nōn tenērētur (Q. Fr. 1.1.34) , let Asia (personified) think of this, that no disaster, etc., would not be hers, if she were not held by this government. [Direct: abesset , nōn tenērer .]
  3. quid inimīcitiārum crēditis [] exceptūrum fuisse, īnsontīs lacessīssem (Q. C. 6.10.18) , what enmities do you think I should have incurred, if I had wantonly assailed the innocent? [excēpissem ... lacessīssem.]
  4. invītum dīcere, nec dictūrum fuisse, cāritās reī pūblicae vinceret (Liv. 2.2) , that he spoke unwillingly and should not have spoken, did not love for the state prevail. [Direct: nec dīxissem ... vinceret .]
  5. nisi tempore quīdam nūntiī Caesaris victōriā ... essent allātī, exīstimābant plērīque futūrum fuisse utī [oppidum] āmitterētur (B. C. 3.101) , most people thought that unless at that time reports of Cæsar's victory had been brought, the town would have been lost. [Direct: nisi essent allātī ... āmissum esset .]
  6. quōrum aetās potuisset esse longinquior, futūrum fuisse ut omnibus perfectīs artibus hominum vīta ērudīrētur (Tusc. 3.69) , if life could have been longer, human existence would have been embellished by every art in its perfection. [Direct: potuisset ... ērudīta esset .]
  7. at plērīque exīstimant, ācrius īnsequī voluisset, bellum diē potuisse fīnīre (B. C. 3.51) , but most people think that, if he had chosen to follow up the pursuit more vigorously, he could have ended the war on that day. [Direct: voluisset ... potuit .]
  8. Caesar respondit ... alicûius iniūriae sibi cōnscius fuisset, nōn fuisse difficile cavēre (B. G. 1.14) , Cæsar replied that if [the Roman people] had been aware of any wrong act, it would not have been hard for them to take precautions. [Direct: fuisset , nōn difficile fuit (§ 517. c).]

Note 1.--In Indirect Discourse Present Conditions contrary to fact are not distinguished in the apodosis from Past Conditions contrary to fact, but the protasis may keep them distinct.

Note 2.--The periphrasis futūrum fuisse ut is sometimes used from choice when there is no necessity for resorting to it, but not in Cæsar or Cicero.

Note 3.--Very rarely the Future Infinitive is used in the Indirect Discourse to express the Apodosis of a Present Condition contrary to fact. Only four or five examples of this use occur in classic authors: as,Titurius clāmābat Caesar adesset neque Carnutēs, etc., “neque Eburōnēs tantā cum contemptiōne nostra ad castra ventūrōs esse(B. G. 5.29) , Titurius cried out that if Cæsar were present, neither would the Carnutes, etc., nor would the Eburones be coming to our camp with such contempt, [Direct: adesset ... venīrent .]

590. The following example illustrates some of the foregoing principles in a connected address:—

pācem populus Rōmānus cum Helvētiīs faceret, in eam partem itūrōs atque ibi futūrōs Helvētiōs, ubi eōs Caesar cōnstituisset atque esse voluisset: sīn bellō persequī persevērāret, reminīscerētur et veteris incommodī populī Rōmānī, et prīstinae virtūtis Helvētiōrum. Quod imprōvīsō ūnum pāgum adortus esset, cum quī flūmen trānsīssent suīs auxilium ferre nōn possent, ob eam rem aut suae māgnō opere virtūtī tribueret, aut ipsōs dēspiceret: ita ā patribus mâiōribusque suīs didicisse, ut magis virtūte quam dolō contenderent, aut īnsidiīs nīterentur. Quā committeret, ut is locus ubi cōnstitissent ex calamitāte populī Rōmānī et interneciōne exercitūs nōmen caperet, aut memoriam prōderet. —B. G. 1.13. pācem populus Rōmānus cum Helvētiīs faciet, in eam partem ībunt atque ibi erunt Helvētiī, ubi eōs cōnstitueris atque esse volueris: sīn bellō persequī persevērābis, reminīscere [inquit] et veteris incommodī populī Rōmānī, et prīstinae virtūtis Helvētiōrum. Quod imprōvīsō ūnum pāgum adortus es, cum quī flūmen trānsierant suīs auxilium ferre nōn possent, ob eam rem aut tuae māgnō opere virtūtī tribueris, aut nōs dēspexeris: nōs ita ā patribus mâiōribusque nostrīs didicimus, ut magis virtūte quam dolō contendāmus, aut īnsidiīs nītāmur. Quā nōlī committere, ut hīc locus ubi cōnstitimus ex calamitāte populī Rōmānī et interneciōne exercitūs nōmen capiat, aut memoriam prōdat.


591. A Subordinate clause takes the Subjunctive—

  1. When it expresses the thought of some other person than the speaker or writer (Informal Indirect Discourse), or
  2. When it is an integral part of a Subjunctive clause or equivalent Infinitive (Attraction).

Informal Indirect Discourse

592. A Subordinate Clause takes the Subjunctive when it expresses the thought of some other person than the writer or speaker:—

    When the clause depends upon another containing a wish, a command, or a question, expressed indirectly, though not strictly in the form of Indirect Discourse:—
    1. animal sentit quid sit quod deceat(Off. 1.14) , an animal feels what it is that is fit.
    2. huic imperat quāspossit adeat cīvitātēs (B. G. 4.21) , he orders him to visit what states he can.
    3. hunc sibi ex animō scrūpulum, quī diēs noctīsquestimulat ac pungit, ut ēvellātis postulat (Rosc. Am. 6) , he begs you to pluck from his heart this doubt that goads and stings him day and night. [Here the relative clause is not a part of the Purpose expressed in ēvellātis , but is an assertion made by the subject of postulat .]
    When the main clause of a quotation is merged in the verb of saying, or some modifier of it:—
    1. quid hīs rēbus dīcerevellet, fēcī potestātem (Cat. 3.11) , if he wished to say anything about these matters, I gave him a chance.
    2. tulit caede quae in Appiā viā facta esset(Mil. 15) , he passed a law concerning the murder which (in the language of the bill) took place in the Appian Way.
    3. nisi restituissentstatuās, vehementer minātur (Verr. 2.162) , he threatens them violently unless they should restore the statues. [Here the main clause, “that he will inflict punishment,” is contained in minātur .]
    4. iīs auxilium suum pollicitus ab Suēbīs premerentur(B. G. 4.19) , he promised them his aid if they should be molested by the Suevi. [= pollicitus auxilium lātūrum , etc.]
    5. prohibitiō tollendī, nisi pactus esset, vim adhibēbat pactiōnī; (Verr. 3.37), the forbidding to take away unless he came to terms gave force to the bargain.
    When a reason or an explanatory fact is introduced by a relative or by quod (rarely quia ) (see § 540):—
    1. Paetus omnīs librōs quōsfrāter suusrelīquisset mihi dōnāvit (Att. 2.1.12) , Pœtus presented to me all the books which (he said) his brother had left.

    Note.--Under this head even what the speaker himself thought under other circumstances may have the Subjunctive. So also with quod even the verb of saying may be in the Subjunctive (§ 540. N.2). Here belong also nōn quia , nōn quod , introducing a reason expressly to deny it. (See § 540. N.3.)

Subjunctive of Integral Part (Attraction)

593. A clause depending upon a Subjunctive clause or an equivalent Infinitive will itself take the Subjunctive if regarded as an integral part of that clause:5
  1. imperat, dum rēs iūdicētur, hominem adservent: cum iūdicāta sit, ad ut addūcant (Verr. 3.55) , he orders them, till the affair should be decided, to keep the man; when it is judged, to bring him to him.
  2. etenim quis tam dissolūtō animō est, quī haec cum videat, tacēre ac neglegere possit (Rosc. Am. 32) , for who is so reckless of spirit that, when he sees these things, he can keep silent and pass them by ?
  3. mōs est Athēnīs laudārī in cōntiōne eōs quī sint in proeliīs interfectī; (Or. 151), it is the custom at Athens for those to be publicly eulogized who have been slain in battle. [Here laudārī is equivalent to ut laudentur .]

a. But a dependent clause may be closely connected grammatically with a Subjunctive or Infinitive clause, and still take the Indicative, if it is not regarded as a necessary logical part of that clause:—

  1. quōdam modō postulat ut, quem ad modum est, sīc etiam appellētur, tyrannus (Att. 10.4.2) , in a manner he demands that as he is, so he may be called, a tyrant.
  2. nātūra fert ut eīs faveāmus quī eadem perīcula quibus nōs perfūnctī sumus ingrediuntur (Mur. 4) , nature prompts us to feel friendly towards those who are entering on the same dangers which we have passed through.
  3. hostēs, quod tantum multitūdine poterant, suōs circumvenīre possent (B. G. 2.8) , lest the enemy, because they were so strong in numbers, should be able to surround his men.
  4. mea in essent officia sōlum tanta quanta magis ā ipsō praedicārī quam ā ponderārī solent, verēcundius ā ... peterem (Fam. 2.6) , if my good services to you were only so great as they are wont rather to be called by you than to be estimated by me, I should, etc.

Note 1.--The use of the Indicative in such clauses sometimes serves to emphasize the fact, as true independently of the statement contained in the subjunctive or infinitive clause. But in many cases no such distinction is perceptible.

Note 2.--It is often difficult to distinguish between Informal Indirect Discourse and the Integral Part. Thus in imperāvit ut ea fierent quae opus essent , essent may stand for sunt , and then will be Indirect Discourse, being a part of the thought, but not a part of the order; or it may stand for erunt , and then will be Integral Part, being a part of the order itself. The difficulty of making the distinction in such cases is evidence of the close relationship between these two constructions.

1 Such are: (1) knowing, sciō , cōgnōscō , compertum habeō , etc.; (2) thinking, putō , exīstimō , arbitror , etc.; (3) telling, dīcō , nūntiō , referō , polliceor , prōmittō , certiōrem faciō , etc.; (4) perceiving, sentiō , comperiō , videō, audiō, etc. So in general any word that denotes thought or mental and visual perception or their expression may govern the Indirect Discourse.

2 Compare the Greek aorist infinitive after similar verbs.

3 For various ways of expressing the Future Infinitive, see § 164. 3. c.

4 See note on Indirect Discourse (§ 577).

5 The subjunctive in this use is of the same nature as the subjunctive in the main clause. A dependent clause in a clause of purpose is really a part of the purpose, as is seen from the use of should and other auxiliaries in English. In a result clause this is less clear, but the result construction is a branch of the characteristic (§ 534), to which category the dependent clause in this case evidently belongs when it takes the subjunctive.

hide References (84 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (76):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 10.26.2
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 11.16.1
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 16.12.4
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 2.16.3
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 2.6
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 5.13
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.4
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.4.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.8.1
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.1.12
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 2.20.2
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 5.18
    • Cicero, Letters to his brother Quintus, 1.1.34
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.13
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.14
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.17
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.3
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.36
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.40
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.44
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.4
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.8
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.19
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.21
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.27
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.14
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.21
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 3.11
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 3.21
    • Cicero, For Archias, 20
    • Cicero, For Sextus Roscius of Ameria, 32
    • Cicero, For Sextus Roscius of Ameria, 6
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.1.123
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.2.162
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.3.37
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.3.55
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.4.131
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.20
    • Cicero, For Lucius Murena, 4
    • Cicero, For Lucius Murena, 90
    • Cicero, For Sulla, 21
    • Cicero, For Milo, 15
    • Cicero, For Rabirius Postumus, 3.43
    • Plautus, Cistellaria, 2.2
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 2.377
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.72
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.101
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.51
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.86
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.92
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.74
    • Plautus, Asinaria, 3.3
    • Cicero, On Oratory, 2.230
    • Cornelius Nepos, Datames, 6
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 3.5.20
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 45, 19.15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 50.7
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 6
    • Cicero, de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 2.68
    • Cicero, de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum, 3.64
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 1.75
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 1.8
    • Cicero, De Senectute, 1
    • Cicero, De Amicitia, 15
    • Cicero, De Amicitia, 53
    • Cicero, De Amicitia, 79
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 1.4
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 2.67
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 3.69
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.114
    • Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 5.76
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 1.14
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 3.5.7
    • Curtius, Historiarum Alexandri Magni, 6.10.18
    • Cicero, Orator, 40
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (8):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 3.10.6
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.13
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.29
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.29
    • Cicero, On Oratory, 2.299
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 41.9
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